Our Announcements

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.

Archive for category Afghan -Taliban-India Axis

Pakistan & regional undercurrents   by Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan & regional undercurrents  

Asif Haroon Raja

Global upheavals

 

 

Recent times have seen upheavals at the global, regional and domestic levels. At the global level, much against the expectations of a thaw in the strained relations between the US under Joe Biden and China-Russia, ego and arrogance have come in the way of the change. The US considers China to be the chief threat to its global monopoly since China’s rise has brought about a ‘tectonic’ shift in the global balance of power’. The world order has transitioned to a new power equation where the US and China are two poles with other centres of power adjusting to co-exist. Shifting power alliances and realignments currently underway portend a new power structure whose shape is yet to evolve. The pivot of geo-economics has shifted from the West to the East, where China in concert with Russia would play a key role. The Indo-Pacific policy of containment of China by the QUAD (USA, Japan, Australia, and India) is bound to fail. Similar will be the fate of the US desire to make India the policeman of South Asia through multiple defence pacts. Far-Right has gained strength in the western world while fascism and racism have heightened in the USA, Israel and India. The US policy of military adventurism has narrowed its circle of friends, while the policy of peace, friendship and shared dividends pursued by China has helped it in enhancing its influence and circle of friends.

Unresolved Palestinian issue

Gaza was once again viciously bombarded and the Al-Aqsa mosque desecrated by the Israeli forces in the holy month of Ramadan. During the 11-day slaughter and destruction, 265 Palestinians including 66 children were killed and hundreds wounded, while only 12 people were killed in Israel by the rockets fired by Hamas. The homemade rockets, however, for the first time dodged the invincible Iron Dom, which has become a cause of concern for Israel. Except for some token condemnations and protest marches, the Muslim world stood aloof. The two-state solution as envisaged in the Oslo Accord still remains a forlorn hope. 

Turbulence in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)

Although the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K has been quietened after the secretive understanding arrived at between the DGMOs of the two arch-rivals, no breakthrough has been achieved at the state level. India is not prepared to restore the special status of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), or to lift the lockdown and stop persecuting the Kashmiris. The Modi regime has intensified its efforts to change the demography of IOK. Like the Palestinian issue, the Kashmir issue is the oldest unresolved dispute lying pending in the tray of the UN since 1948.

Cross border terrorism

Cross border terrorism against Pakistan by RAW-NDS from Afghan soil continues unceasingly. Apart from striking targets in Waziristan and Baluchistan, Johar Town in Lahore was also targeted by the combined nexus of RAW-NDS-CIA-Mossad to kill interned Hafiz Saeed who has always been viewed by India as a big threat to its security particularly in IOK because of his huge followings both sides of the LoC as well as in Punjab. Objectives were to get rid of this threat and also trigger religious Far Right backlash in Punjab. Within four days the whole network was rounded up and the masterminds identified by Punjab Police.  

Various anti-Pakistan terrorist groups like TTP, Jamaatul Ahrar Lashkar-e-Islam based in Afghanistan, Baloch rebel groups (BLA, BRA, BLF) and Sindh based separatist groups have been unified by these agencies to create trouble in provinces. At the same time, the PDM has been instigated to recommence rallies to foment political instability. The hybrid war is targeting the Pak Army and the ISI to tarnish their image.

India’s penchant for falsehood

False narratives and stories are still being woven by India’s Chronicles which was busted by the Disinformation Lab in Brussels last year. The sole purpose of India’s media war is to disrepute Pakistan and its institutions. The latest cooked up story is the imaginary plot of some senior Pak Army officers to assassinate Gen Qamar Bajwa. It’s a clear indication that Indian military leadership is fearful of him and see him as a big threat to their sinister plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other woolly story circulated by Indian media is about the drone attacks on the Indian airbase in Jammu, which have been pinned on Pakistan. Logically the two bombs allegedly dropped on the airbase should have destroyed it including the warplanes and helicopters parked in the aprons and on the runway. Interestingly, the bombs could only make two small holes in one of the barracks and didn’t cause any human or material damage which itself speaks of the lunacy of the allegation made. The purpose was to deflect the attention of the world from its fiasco in Lahore where RAW was caught with its pants down, to create another sensation, hide its atrocities in IOK, and to win the sympathies of the world. It backfired since India once again failed to substantiate its accusations.

Yet another bizarre concoction that was floated by India was about the spy drone flying over Indian Embassy in Islamabad. For argument sake, even if it is accepted as true, what was so strange about the drone flying within its own territory? While levelling this wonky complaint, India forgot that its spy drones have been repeatedly crossing deep inside AJK to photograph our posts and deployments along the LoC and in depth, and every intruding drone was shot down. This year, three intrusions were carried out.           

India’s quandaries

The belligerence of Modi and his hawks against Pakistan have considerably mellowed down because of multiple factors. Its venture of integrating disputed IOK and promulgation of anti-Indian Muslim laws have backfired. The Sikh movement together with Kissan Tehriq and the Naxalite movement has become existential threats. Covid-19 has spun out of control and the daily death rate is the highest in the world. It has plummeted India’s rising economy into negative and BJP’s popularity has declined as gauged from the results of recent by-elections.  Seculars in India have joined hands with the minorities to confront BJP’s fascism and racism.

Externally, India has suffered several setbacks. India’s plan to annex Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) was disrupted by China by taking control of important heights across the LAC in the Himalayas from where the PLA dominates the lone supply route to the KKH and GB. It is now faced with a twin threat for the first time. While Afghanistan has slipped out of its hands, it has also lost Iran after its ouster from Chahbahar and railway projects.

Both the US and Israel are unhappy with India over its poor performance against China, and its failure to accomplish any of the objectives against Pakistan. More and more voices of criticism are now heard in the West after exposure of scandal of India’s Chronicles, Goswami WhatsApp chat, continued lockdown of Kashmiris since August 5, 2019, denial of basic rights and demographic change.

Other regional countries

Iran has snuggled away from India and has come into the loop of China after the latter signed a $480 billion long term agreement with Iran.

While there is a thaw in Pak-Iran relations, Saudi Arabia and UAE have restored old ties with Pakistan and the former plans to install an oil refinery at Gwadar.

Pakistan has got closer to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, some Central Asian States and is fast improving its relations with Russia and African countries.  

Situation in Afghanistan

The US has been forced to end the 20 years’ war in Afghanistan, which is a telling reminder of its failed policies. Pakistan played a pivotal role in bringing the Taliban and the US to the negotiating table and signing the historic Doha agreement as well as in starting an intra-Afghan dialogue to arrive at a political settlement. While Trump was keen to pull out occupying troops by May 1 this year, Biden, influenced by the spoilers of peace, had second thoughts and was inclined to extend the date of exit. In the face of a rise in attacks by the Taliban, he had to announce in April that the withdrawal would be completed by Sept 11. The bulk of US-NATO troops have already withdrawn, and 7 military bases including Bagram vacated and handed over to the ANSF. Reportedly, the withdrawal will be completed by end of August if not earlier, but the US intends to keep a small contingent of about 650 personnel in the Kabul military base for the protection of its diplomats in the US Embassy and probably for technical support to the ANA.

The Taliban will not accept the presence of a single foreign soldier and have also not welcomed Turkey’s offer of taking over the security of Kabul airport. Washington has requested Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to temporarily house around 9000 Afghan drivers, translators and workers employed in Bagram airbase and their families. The Biden administration has pledged to expedite immigration visas for the Afghans who worked with the US forces, but the visa seekers are desperate to fly to safe havens at the earliest. To support the shaky regime in Kabul and the vacillating ANSF which lacks the capacity to confront the Taliban, Biden promised financial assistance to the visiting Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah.

The US is also urgently in need of a military base outside Afghanistan, supposedly for counterterrorism against Al-Qaeda, Daesh and the Taliban. With the fizzling out of Ladakh as a base, the US persuaded Pakistan to provide a military base and besides promising some goodies, it used coercive tactics with the help of FATF and IMF but Pakistan firmly refused. Imran Khan stated that Pakistan is ready to cooperate with the US for peace and development of Afghanistan but not for war and conflict. Air corridor and land routes have been made available till the completion of the withdrawal of US-NATO troops. The three Central Asian states have also refused to provide military bases to the US because of Russian influence.

The desire for a military base outside Afghanistan after losing the war and the stated purpose of counter-terrorism is ludicrous. Al-Qaeda and ISIS were CIA creations. Obama had made a declaration in 2012 that the Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan had been effectively disrupted, dismantled and destroyed. Factually, the bulk of Al-Qaeda operatives had shifted to Arabian Peninsula in 2004 after the Bush administration opened the second front in Iraq in March 2003. More than 600 Al-Qaeda leaders and operatives were caught by Pak security forces and handed over to the CIA who were shifted to Gitmo. So, against which Al-Qaeda the new US administration want to carry out counter-terrorism?

As regards ISIS, after using it in Iraq and Syria, sizeable numbers of its fighters were airlifted in helicopters from the Middle East by CIA-RAW to Nangarhar in Afghanistan in 2014. After marrying them with Jamaatul Ahrar, an offshoot of TTP, they were pitched against the Taliban and also launched into Baluchistan and Karachi. After the Doha agreement, most of the attacks on civil targets were the doings of Daesh, but the spoilers blamed the Taliban to disrepute them and the peace agreement. Lastly, the US has no moral right to carry out counter-terrorism against the victorious Taliban with whom it has signed a peace agreement and the Taliban are restraining themselves from attacking the foreign targets.  

Having lost the war and forced to withdraw, and failing to acquire a military base, the only option left with the spoilers of peace is to resort to dirty tricks to keep war-torn Afghanistan simmering in the cauldron of instability and insecurity. India and the puppet regime in Kabul whose days are numbered are fully involved in the game of USA. This is the only way to lessen their pangs of shame and humiliation. They will make all-out efforts to create as many hurdles and problems for the Taliban to ensure that they fail in restoring peace and order in the country.

With this aim in mind, the losers are frenetically circulating frightening scenarios and painting the Taliban as man-eating beasts, once again on the verge of snatching power. They are scaring the regional countries that in case of takeover by the Taliban and establishment of Islamic Emirate, all hell will break loose and it will spell disaster for the people of Afghanistan and for its neighbours. Influenced by the propaganda, Russia, China, Central Asian States, Iran as well as Pakistan are keen that a broad-based Republic regime is established in Kabul and are uncomfortable with the idea of Islamic Emirate.   

While upholding this stance, seemingly they ignore certain historical facts and ground realities. Soon after toppling the Taliban regime led by Mulla Omar in Nov 2001, the US spent $ 3 billion to form a Northern Alliance heavy regime in Kabul led by President Hamid Karzai. It accommodated all the notorious warlords and drug barons. The puppet regime ruled at a stretch till Aug 2016, after which an unnatural unity regime of Ashraf Ghani-Dr. Abdullah was formed, in spite of their incompetence and corruption are still in power, and wants to remain in power in future as well. The two regimes completely failed to bring peace and prosperity to the country, which had remained peaceful, stable and crime-free during the 5-year rule of the Taliban.  The Taliban achieved this feat because of the imposition of the Islamic system based on justice.

Stability couldn’t be achieved by the US-installed regimes in spite of the US spending $ 1.5 trillion. Throughout the period of occupancy, the country saw bloodshed, death and destruction. The US never made sincere efforts to build Afghanistan, eliminate poverty and illiteracy, provide jobs and make the lives of the people comfortable. Peace talks with the Taliban in 2011 and the opening of a political office in Doha in 2013 were ruses to divide the Taliban movement and not to restore peace. Even after the Doha agreement in Feb 2019, the spoilers have been stoking instability in Afghanistan to find an excuse to delay the exit of occupying forces.

The US-NATO-ANA forces were not showering flowers on the Afghans during their longest war, but raining molten lava causing over 5 lacs civil casualties. About 5000 ill-clad, ill-equipped ragtag resistance forces were kept on the run for 20 years at a stretch. It was a nightmare for them and they tried to survive in hell. Pakistan which was forced to fight the US war suffered the most, but India as well as those in power drew maximum benefits from the US largesse.

With this background, what greater calamity can befall upon the Afghan Pashtuns in general and the Taliban in particular after the departure of occupying forces whose three generations have seen nothing but war? How will it become more unstable, lawless and insecure under the rule of the Taliban which has learnt lessons, gained maturity and experience, and know the pitfalls of a civil war?

In 1990, there were 7 Mujahideen groups of various ethnicities with no unity of command under one ruler. Conversely, the Taliban movement has remained united and focused, and it saw three Ameers, Mullah Omar, Mullah Mansour and incumbent Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada succeeding each other with no discord. Haqqanis under Sirajuddin remain loyal to the Ameer.

It is befuddling that Pakistan is toeing the US line to let the Ghani-Abdullah regime share power with the Taliban under a Republic despite having suffered the most in the US imposed war on terror due to the perverse role of ANA heavy regime in Kabul which is in collusion with India.                        

White House and the Pentagon once again tried to win over Pakistani leaders and officials. Given her long-term strategic interest as well as past experience, Pakistan cannot afford to even think of aligning herself with a power that is openly at loggerheads with China, Russia and Iran, and strategically aligned with India. Pakistan’s nuclear program and the CPEC are eyesores for the US. More than that, it will be a mortal sin to betray the people of Afghanistan once again. Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Moreover, it must not be forgotten that the U.S still has unfinished business in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s contrasting relations with the USA and China

Our Western friends never provided a security umbrella against expansionist India, and wasted our precious seven decades by making Pakistan run on a treadmill and obstructed its economic take-off. Pakistan-US relations overshadowed by mistrust and unequal partnership are still transactional in nature. The sword of the FATF hangs over the head in spite of Pakistan fulfilling 26 of its 27 points. Pakistan Foreign Minister rightly questioned whether the FATF is a technical forum or political? The IMF loan has become more burdensome after Saudi Arabia and UAE at the behest of the US took back their loans and facility of deferred oil payment.

Conversely, the spectrum of the Pakistan-China relationship spread over 70 years has become multifaceted. The CPEC which is the flagship of $ 1.3 trillion BRI has elevated the relationship to an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership. The CPEC which is equally beneficial to both has bound China to help in safeguarding Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. Successful completion of the CPEC by 2030 will realise the dream of Pakistanis for a prosperous, secure and self-reliant country.  

Domestic squabbling

Internally, the ruling PTI regime is up against formidable challenges. So far it has not been able to steady the dwindling economy or fulfil any of its lofty promises. Notwithstanding slight improvements made in the macro-economics, at the micro-level, no relief has been provided to the masses. Inflation and price hike are at a new high which has frustrated the people. Its lack of performance has diminished the charisma of Imran Khan as could be seen from the results in the by-elections in all the four provinces. It gave space to the PDM to push the government against the wall, but its disunity has given a welcome breather to the rulers who are also faced with internal cracks because of the emergence of a new group under Jahangir Tareen. This group has made the position of the PTI in Punjab and in the Centre tenuous.

Political polarization has blocked the government’s efforts to carry out essential reforms and it is left with no choice but to rule by presidential ordinances. Sharif family continues to pose a political threat since the PML-N vote bank in Punjab remains intact. The PPP under Bilawal in Sindh is exploiting the provincial autonomy under the 18th Amendment and has adopted a posture of non-cooperation. Bilawal and Sindh Chief Minister are flying to Washington to offer their good services if brought to power. Disturbing law and order in rural-urban Sindh and in Baluchistan where the foreign paid proxies have again stepped up terrorism, and negativism of social media are causes of consternation for the government.    

Covid-19 is another big challenge for the ruling regime which has slowed down its development and socio-economic programs. It handled the first and second waves of the pandemic intelligently and is handling the third wave skillfully. The fourth wave is reportedly round the corner. China has extended full support to tackle the disease and provided vaccines free of cost. Now Pakistan has started manufacturing the vaccines locally, which will speed up the vaccination campaign. But the majority of the people living in rural areas are averse to vaccination and see it as a ploy of Dajjali forces to depopulate the world.

What is encouraging is fast track construction of the hydel power projects including the Mohmand dam which would greatly help in ridding the nation from the curse of the IPPs and would provide cheap electricity and overcome water crisis. It will be very satisfying if the GDP rises to 3.8% to 4% as assured by the new Finance Minister. The graph of exports, revenue collection and remittances from the expatriates are on the increase.

Pakistan needs to learn from China and take concrete steps to eradicate corruption, crimes and poverty, to increase exports, improve governance, reform the state institutions, boost up agriculture and industry, and encourage the private sector.

The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, he took part in the epic battle of Hilli, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, his sixth book is under publication, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS. asifharoonraja@gmail.com       

No Comments

Indo-Pakistan & Indo-China flare-up

Indo-Pakistan & Indo-China flare-up

Part-1

Asif Haroon Raja

Indo-Pakistan antagonism

India and Pakistan became independent countries in 1947 but India till to-date has not reconciled to Pakistan’s existence. Kashmir which was left behind by the outgoing British as an unfinished agenda of Partition has remained a bone of contention and has bedeviled their relations. India has been defying UN resolutions giving right of self-determination to the Kashmiris on one pretext or the other for the last 72 years. Each and every Pakistani leader extended a hand of friendship but was spurned by India.

The already tense and strained relations between the two arch rivals flared up after India blatantly abrogated Articles 370 and 35A of Indian Constitution on 5 August and made the disputed Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) integral part of India. Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh were declared as the two newly created Indian Union Territories.

What it implied was conversion of Line of Control (LoC) in J&K and Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh into permanent borders. Both Pakistan and China rejected India’s claim saying it is in complete disregard of the UN resolutions and international and bilateral agreements. New Delhi, however, hastened to state that the new arrangement didn’t affect the status of LAC with China.

Fascist and Hindutva loving Narendra Modi couldn’t have gambled to take this perilous step to annoy two nuclear powers in its immediate neighborhood without a wink from USA and Israel, both having their axes to grind. He had already taken on board Arab Gulf States.

Modi couldn’t have locked down 9 million Kashmiris in IOK for 10 months and subjected them to horrendous oppression without the support of his patrons. Promulgation of anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and NRC law in December 2019 followed by new domicile law to change the demography of Muslim dominated IOK were part of the bigger design.

Megalomaniac Modi’s madness didn’t end here. India’s civil and military leaders started hurling threats of annexing Azad J&K (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). A new map was circulated showing AJK-GB part of India, and Aksai Chin in occupation of China, as part of Ladakh. Taking into account the Indian force level of 950,000 regular and paramilitary forces in IOK, the threats carried weight.

The chain of events taking place in quick succession following the subjugation of IOK were part of the overall game plan conceived by Indo-US-Israeli nexus to place India at a higher pedestal in the region.   

Reasons which impelled Modi to initiate risk-filled acts:

  • Pakistan couldn’t be denuclearized; conversely, it managed to keep its missile and nuclear programs safe and secure and further fortified them.
  • Plans to bleed, demoralize and exhaust Pak Army and paramilitary forces through massive covert war backfired and the Army emerged more strong and robust.
  • Billions of dollars spent on the proxies and propaganda war to destabilse and discredit Pakistan were washed out after Pak Army, Frontier Corps and Sindh Rangers managed to break the spine of foreign funded terrorist groups operating in FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan and urban Sindh.
  • Fencing of western border and now the southern border on fast track by Pak Army have given a lethal blow to RAW-NDS sponsored cross border terrorism from Afghanistan and Iran.
  • Afghanistan where India has invested $ 3 billion so as to consolidate its influence and to pose a twin threat to Pakistan’s security has almost slipped out of its hands since Taliban’s return to power is a foregone conclusion.
  • Noting the ever rising fervor of freedom movement in IOK, it had become clear that sooner than latter Kashmir, which India had illegally annexed in October 1947, will breakaway. 700,000 occupation forces deployed in the Kashmir Valley since 1990 couldn’t extinguish the flame of liberty. This was exceedingly worrisome for Indian leadership.
  • Unlike the pliant regimes of PPP and PML-N that could be easily swayed or pressured by US and India, the incumbent regime led by Imran Khan is not pursuing an outright policy of appeasement, and is repeatedly naming Modi regime as fascist and racist regime which is anti-peace with expansionist designs.
  • CPEC which is the flagship project of China’s Belt-and-Road-Initiative (BRI) has shaken the global ambitions of USA, Israel and India wanting to dominate the world. CPEC has not only welded together China and Pakistan as iron brothers, but has opened avenues for China to become the leading economic power of the world and for Pakistan to become self-reliant. This is unacceptable to the Indo-US-Israel nexus.
  • The US is desperate to pullout from Afghanistan safely where it spent over $2 trillion without achieving any of its objectives. It is also keen to retain a toehold in the country, or else establish a military base in the near vicinity. Ladakh as a base fits the bill wherefrom it can easily monitor China, Iran, Pakistan and Middle East. The three strategic partners are nurturing this wish.
  • Failing to subdue Pakistan through bloody proxy war, low intensity conflict along the LoC, and water terrorism, and then failing to disrupt development of CPEC through acts of terrorism, or to spoil China-Pakistan relations through propaganda war, India schemed to absorb whole of J&K in two or three phases in line with Gen Bipen Rawat’s policy of limited war.
  • GB has more value for India since its seizure is the only other way out left to block CPEC, which originates from Kashgar in China and enters Pakistan at Khunjarab in GB. Another sour point for India is Pakistan’s plan to build Diamir-Bhasha dam in GB as part of CPEC project, which will be detrimental to India’s plan to make Pakistan water scarce. India has built 24 water storage dams on three rivers flowing into Pakistan from IOK.
  • Allowing USA and Israel to establish military bases in Ladakh and making it a strong military garrison will not only ward off threat from China to Ladakh, but Ladakh will also provide shortest and only route to India to approach GB, scuttle CPEC, and pave way for taking back Aksai Chin.
  • With GB in the bag of India, Pakistan-China contiguity will get dislocated.
  • Another possible reason of abrogating the special status of IOK was to provoke Pakistan to launch an offensive across the LoC, as it had provoked Gen Yahya to declare war against India on the western front on 3 December 1971, thereby allowing India to once again declare Pakistan an aggressor and itself a victim of aggression, and after gaining sympathies of the world, launch counter offensive in GB-AJK.
  • Last but not least, both the US and Israel have been baiting and goading India to lock horns with both Pakistan and China by playing upon boastful India’s penchant to become a global power. Both have been milking India by selling most expensive armaments.

India calculatedly upped the ante

With these considerations in view, India first carried out a false flag operation in Pathankot on 14 February 2019, in which 40 Indian CRPF soldiers were sacrificed. India backed by USA and some European nations promptly blamed Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and Pakistan. Purpose was to garner Hindu votes for Modi’s re-election in May 2019 by fomenting war hysteria against Pakistan, defaming Kashmiri freedom struggle, preparing grounds for blacklisting Pakistan by FATF, and above all creating justification for launching a surgical strike.

On 22 February, twelve Indian Mirage-2000 took part in the air intrusion on an imaginary hideout of JeM in Balakot to avenge the deaths of Indian soldiers. Vigilance and forceful chase by PAF jets forced the intruders to fly back in panic and hastily drop 3 Israeli supplied Spike missiles in a deserted hillock causing no damage.

Pakistan’s befitting response

Although Indian mission was a complete failure, PAF gave a befitting response on the night of 26 February. The attacking jets locked three high value targets (Command HQ, Brigade HQ, ammunition dump) deep inside IOK, but under the policy of restraint, hit vacant areas in close vicinity of intended targets. Gen Rawat survived by the skin of his teeth, but a loud message was conveyed not to mess with nuclear Pakistan.

These strikes were followed by an air duel on 27th morning in which PAF jets struck down one Su-30 flown by Israeli pilot and one MiG-21 flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan of IAF and captured the latter after he ejected. Another Indian helicopter with its crew was downed by panicky Indian air defence.

Pakistan also responded to India’s plan to strike 8 targets inside Pakistan by Brahmo cruise missiles by deploying its missiles to hit 16 Indian cities. It took the heat out of Indian jingoism and temporarily broke the escalating cycle of violence.

Amalgamation of IOK by India

Notwithstanding the series of humiliating setbacks suffered by India, Modi’s re-election once again pumped him up to implement his fascist agenda which he couldn’t accomplish in his first term.

What encouraged ultra-supremacist Modi to change the status of IOK, maintain aggressive posture along the LoC in J&K, to continue brutally oppressing Kashmiris in IOK in contravention of 4th Geneva Convention, refuse to lift curfew in spite of the Covid-19 and mounting world pressure was his hope that he will be able to deflate the spirits of freedom fighters in 4-6 months by killing Kashmiri leaders, putting young boys in torture cells, raping women, jailing all political leaders, closing down their shops and businesses, and disrupting phones, TV and internet.

The other reason which comforted him was the raised troop level to 9,50,000, enabling Indian Northern Command (INC) to enforce lockdown with impunity, maintain defensive balance and have sufficient forces for offensives in GB and AJK at an opportune time.

While snatching the special status of IOK, Modi either discounted the Chinese factor, or was assured by his benefactors that China would not react due to its contracting economy for the first time in last 40 years, brewing tension in South China Sea, USA backed Taiwan reiterating its independent status, trade war with USA, the US recognizing Tibet as independent state, Trump blaming China for spreading Covid-19, and threatening to cut all ties, CIA sponsored protests of liberals in Hong Kong (HK) funded by National Endowment for Democracy based in Washington, and Trump’s pledge to revoke special status of HK in reaction to new extradition bill for criminals promulgated by Beijing.

 

 

Map Courtesy:Pakistan Defence

 

 

What emboldened Modi to absorb IOK was Pakistan’s frail economic conditions together with internal political polarization. He saw it as an opportunity to exploit and seize the moment. 

The other possibility that cannot be ruled out is that in case current corona pandemic is US inspired and was China centric, it would have been assumed by the trio that China would be too engrossed in fighting the virus and will have little heart for any external adventure.

The US having declared China as its number one enemy is otherwise clamoring to emasculate China by stunting its economic and military growth through pampered India bloated as a counterweight to China and pivot of Indo-Pacific region.

With Ladakh under its belt, it became easier for Indian INC to execute a military operation in GB and annex if not whole, at least part of it through which CPEC passes. There would be still enough forces to undertake one main and two auxiliary efforts in AJK.

Indian military had stepped into Siachin Glacier in 1984 with an eye on GB and to monitor Karakorum Highway. RAW has been using that platform to stir political trouble in GB with the help of Balwaristan movement.

To undertake an offensive in GB, Indian military speeded up construction of 260 km long road along Shyok River to connect it with Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) near Karakorum Pass in last October under the plea that it was well inside the LAC. DBO, situated 8 miles away from Karakorum Pass was upgraded from a company-size post into a brigade-size military garrison with an airbase in 2019. This is what alarmed and spurred China to defeat India’s dangerous designs before it was too late.  

To be continued

Author

Brig.Gen(Retd)Asif Haroon Raja

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, former Defence Attaché’ and Dean of Corps of Military Attaches’ in Cairo, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Center, Member CWC PESS and of Veterans Think Tank, and Member Council TJP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com  

 

To be continued

 

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, former Defence Attaché’ and Dean of Corps of Military Attaches’ in Cairo, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Center, Member CWC PESS and of Veterans Think Tank, and Member Council TJP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com  

 

 

, , ,

No Comments

Modi,Jaishankar & Ajit Doval- The Gang That Could Not Shoot Straight

Jaishankar & Ajit Doval rewarded for failures?: New ‘normal’ in new India

Pulwama, Pathankot, plight of Kulbhushan Jadhav would have counted as failures of the NSA. Similarly, as Foreign Secretary Jaishankar seemed out of the loop on most crucial issues

 

Ajit Doval – His Arrogance Catches Up With Karma-With Pride Cometh Shame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy: Social Media
Photo courtesy: Social Media

Reward for failure is the new normal in Naya Bharat. Unemployment in terms of sheer number of jobless people is at the highest in the history of independent India. GDP growth – a fudge in the eyes of several Nobel Prize winning economists since it was massaged in 2014 to inflate it – has plummeted to the lowest level in five years. The list of non-achievement is endless. Yet the political party that has governed over such a shambles has been handsomely re-elected. Falsehood, an exaggerated security threat engendering jingoism, reigns. The hitherto exemplary common sense of the common man has evaporated and been replaced by revolting communal considerations.

The poison started being injected into India’s body politic with the RSS surreptitiously taking advantage of the Jan Sangh being a component of the 1977-79 Janata Party administration. It gathered momentum, with Hindutva being unashamedly unveiled by Lal Krishna Advani, catapulting the BJP from two to 182 seats in the Lok Sabha in a decade. More importantly, six years of a BJP-led NDA government administered a heavier dose of the toxin to students who graduated into voting for Narendra Modi in 2014. And then came the heaviest portion of the venom under an unbridled absolute majority regime of effectively the RSS.

Now the new external affairs minister is Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. In theory, an appointment of a domain specialist is not an unwelcome departure from unequipped politicians presiding over foreign policy. In fact, there can be no doubt that a career diplomat’s insight and knowledge of India’s international affairs would be far more extensive than a generalist.

Jaishankar’s father was Krishnaswamy Subhahmanyam, who was an institution as director of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses. He advocated realpolitik in contrast idealism in external relations and a policy of credible nuclear deterrence. The son, after graduating from St Stephen’s College, Delhi University, studied nuclear diplomacy at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Upon entering the Indian Foreign Service, he was generally identified as one of the bright boys of the establishment and tipped as a future foreign secretary.

He was overlooked for the top job when his batchmate Sujatha Singh was preferred to him; but was schemingly eased into the post after Narendra Modi abruptly terminated Singh’s tenure. There was never much debate in informed circles that Jaishankar was the more eligible of the two to steward the service. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was said to have wanted him; but was prevailed upon to consider the fact that Sujatha fared better than Jaishankar in the entrance examination and to deny her would also expose his government to a charge of gender discrimination. It was the treatment meted out to Singh though that rankled in the diplomatic community.

It is a legitimate ambition to aspire to be foreign secretary. Indeed, it is deemed to be a political master’s prerogative to ring changes. But signs of displeasure among Indian diplomats, past and present, erupted when he was granted a year’s extension after his two-year term.

The most respected civil servant is he or she who doesn’t accept in a post-retirement handshake. It is worse if such a person transpires to have been a closet activist for a political party while a bureaucrat. There is no evidence to substantiate Jaishankar was the latter. But his record as foreign secretary was not exactly luminous; yet he has been elevated to the position of EAM.

Under his watch as foreign secretary, India markedly tilted towards the United States, thereby departing from its successful policy of equidistance from super powers. And it persevered with this policy even with an unreliable Donald Trump. Not even during the period of unipolarity in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and before the rise of China did India kow-tow to Washington. The net result is, this annoyed Russia, historically India’s trusted partner. And when India tried to appease Moscow by ordering missile systems, a malicious Trump hit back with punitive measures. In effect, the Jaishankar doctrine has gone up in flames.

Under his vigilance, tension with China rose alarmingly – arguably a consequence of India’s US policy – resulting in a face-off at Doklam. He also took his eye off the ball on the Maldives situation. The degeneration in ties with Pakistan and Nepal was not of his creation. But the question is, did he advise against Modi’s misadventures strenuously enough?

On Modi’s first visit to Beijing, Jaishankar told the press no concession on visas was on the cards. Within hours he was contradicted. Two days before Modi’s meeting with President Francoise Hollande in 2015, Jaishankar maintained a discussion on the Rafale deal was not on the table, that Dassault and HAL were close to concluding an agreement. These are incredible instances of a foreign secretary being kept out of the loop.

Besides, who is responsible for Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav’s predicament in Pakistan? Whose bright idea was it to permit the Pakistani army’s Inter-Services Intelligence wing to visit the sensitive military base at Pathankot? Terrorism has been rampant whether in Kashmir or Madhya Pradesh. Yet Ajit Doval as National Security Adviser has been upgraded to cabinet rank.

Reference

No Comments

Broadening split in India’s Federation By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Since Narendara Modi, the leader of the ruling party BJP became the Indian Prime Minister in 2014, he started implementing ideology of Hindutva ((Hindu Nationalism). Under his regime, persecution of religious minorities such as Dalits, Sikhs, Christians and particularly Muslims, including even of lower cast-Hindus might be cited as instance.

 

In this regard, the Indian Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA), passed by the Indian Parliament further exposed the discriminatory policies of the Modi government. The CAA coupled with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is mainly against the Muslim immigrants especially from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

 

Since December 15, 2019, daily mass protests, even by the moderate Hindus have been taking place across every state in India against the CAA and the NRC, which resulted into killing of more than 100 persons and injuring 800-mostly Muslims by the police and fanatic Hindus. But, Modi-led regime has not withdrawn the CAA/NRC.

 

It is mentionable that more than seven months have been passed. But, Indian extremist government led by the extremist Prime Minister Modi continued lockdown in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). While, Indian fanatic rulers are also escalating tensions with Pakistan to divert attention from the drastic situation of the (IOK), and have continued shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir by violating the ceasefire agreement in relation to the Line of Control (LoC).

 

Indian forces have broken all previous records of gross human rights abuses since August 5, 2019 when Indian Prime Minister Modi’s government ended special status of the Jammu and Kashmir by abolishing articles 35A and 370 of the Constitution to turn Muslim majority into minority in the Indian Held Kashmir. Implementing the August 5 announcement, Indian central government issued a notorious map on October 31, 2019. In accordance with it, Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories—Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

 

Besides Pakistan, China also rejected the Indian map. In this regard, China objected to the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories as “unlawful and void”, saying that India’s decision to “include” some of China’s territory into its administrative jurisdiction “challenged” Beijing’s sovereignty. Border dispute between New Delhi and China, which remains unsettled, has increased tension between the two countries.

 

 

 

It is noteworthy that former Soviet Union which had subjugated the minorities and ethnic groups in various provinces and regions through its military, disintegrated in 1991. Learning no lesson from its previous close friend, New Delhi has been acting upon the similar policies in some way or the other.

 

However, India, dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland—Hindutva have been using brutal force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura where wars of liberation continue in one form or the other.

Due to the discrimination against the Sikh community, Sikhs have been fighting for Kahalistan as an independent state.

 

In the recent years, Maoist intensified their struggle by attacking official installments. In this context, Indian media admitted that Maoists have entered the cities, expanding their activities against the Indian union. On 22-23 April 2018, at least 39 Maoists were killed in an alleged encounter with Indian security forces in district Gadchiroli. Maoist uprising is second major freedom movement after that of the Occupied Kashmir. Indian former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called Maoist insurrection, “the single biggest internal-security challenge”, whereas, Home Secretary G.K Pillai had reiterated the magnitude of this threat by saying that the Maoists want to completely overthrow the Indian state by 2050. The Naxalite-Maoists, as they call themselves, are the liberators, representing landless farmers and the downtrodden masses who have been entangled into vicious circle of poverty, misery and deprivation.

 

Tamil Nadu is another area where separatist movements are haunting federation of India.

 

And, the seven states of Northeastern India, which are called the ‘Seven Sisters’ are ethnically and linguistically different from rest of the country. These states are rocked by a large number of armed and violent rebellions, some seeking separate states, some fighting for autonomy and others demanding complete independence. These states which include Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, accuse New Delhi of apathy towards their issues. Illiteracy, poverty and lack of economic opportunities have fueled the natives’ demand for autonomy and independence.

 

As regards the state of Assam, the BJP-led alliance has been targeting the 4 million Assamese Muslims who are being denied Indian citizenship under the NRC. On August 31, 2019, nearly two million people have been excluded from a list of citizens in India’s Assam, raising fears they could be rendered stateless.

 

Undoubtedly, these states have witnessed various sorts of India’s state terrorism, but, did not stop their struggle. Instead of redressing the grievances of the people by eliminating injustices against them, Modi-led Indian regime is depending upon ruthless force to crush these extremist and secessionist movements. Therefore, India’s unrealistic counterinsurgency strategy has badly failed.

 

It is of particular attention that Indian Minister of External affairs Jaswant Singh who served the BJP for 30 years was expelled from the party for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah [Founder of Pakistan] and echoing the pain of the Indian Muslims in his book, “Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence.”

 

Pointing out the BJP’s attitude towards the minorities, Singh wrote: “Every Muslim that lives in India is a loyal Indian…look into the eyes of Indian Muslims and see the pain.” He warned in his book, if such a policy continued, “India could have third partition.”

 

We can conclude that Modi’s “New India”, which is “Meta Nationalism”, is transforming the country into a “fascist and extremist India”, as Modi is intolerant and inflexible to any kind of opposition. So, Prime Minister Narendar Modi’s extremist policies have broadened the split of India’s federation which will disintegrate like the former Soviet Union.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

, ,

No Comments

Conviction of Hafiz Saeed by Asif Haroon Raja

Conviction of Hafiz Saeed

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

The Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) in Lahore under Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta convicted Hafiz Saeed on February 12 and jailed him for 11 years. His colleague Zafar Iqbal was also given 11 years jail term. 23 prosecution witnesses testified but none could provide any concrete evidence. The prosecutor maintained that Lashkar-e-Taeba (LeT) and Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) were two sides of the same coin and since LeT had been declared a proscribed organization vide UN resolution 1267 and put under sanctions, Pakistan being a member of the UN must take action. Despite the fact that the prosecution couldn’t prove the charge of terrorism, the two accused were declared guilty on account of being a member of a banned outfit, supporting and arranging meetings of a proscribed organization, illegal fundraising and buying properties from the raised funds. Besides Indian media, a segment of Pak media together with a handful of well-heeled liberals in Pakistan have been demonizing Hafiz Saeed and his JuD and presenting him an asset of the military establishment.   

Hafiz Saeed was the founder of LeT in the early 1990s, which was actively involved in armed Kashmiri freedom movement. Once LeT and some other Kashmir focused Jihadi groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) were banned by Gen Musharraf under pressure from India and USA in 2002/03, Hafiz Saeed detached himself from LeT and created an educational & charitable outfit at Muredke near Lahore, which he named JuD. His set-up is open to all and all activities are transparent. He, however remained on the radar of India as well as the USA.

Between 2001 and 2008, all terror attacks in India were put in the basket of Azhar Masood led JeM or LeT.  The latter was blamed for the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. India also accused ISI that it trained and backed LeT. Since then, India has been constantly pressing Pakistan to punish Hafiz Saeed and other LeT leaders. At the behest of India, the UN and the US declared him a global terrorist and put $10 million bounty as his head money.  

Hafiz Saeed was arrested by Pak authorities 8 times since 2011 and put on trial but the courts couldn’t find any trace of his involvement in Mumbai attacks and had to be released. Neither India could furnish any proofs. Whatever evidence it sent was too flimsy and insufficient to convict him, but India duly backed by USA clung to its stance. 

India couldn’t supply any proofs because Mumbai attacks were masterminded by RAW-Mossad combine in collusion with CIA with a view to undermine the sudden flare-up of unarmed movement in IOK in the summer of 2008, get ISI declared a rogue outfit and Pakistan a terror abetting state. To make it look real, India made hue and cry, suspended composite dialogue and conditioned recommencement of talks to the conviction of the so-called accused. The USA also kept pressing and advising Pakistan to punish the accused to ease tension, renew the process of composite dialogue to resolve of Kashmir dispute and to return to normalcy.   

Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving accused was tried and hanged within the premises of jail without allowing Pakistani legal team or the Interpol to meet him. India’s claim that Kasab was a Pakistani hailing from village Faridkot was false. He had been kidnapped from Nepal by RAW sometime back and was put in a secret detention center for subsequent use.

The Mumbai drama was initially exposed by the officials of Indian Home Ministry led by Satish Sharma in 2011, who submitted affidavits in Indian Supreme Court asserting that the attacks were an in-house affair to achieve objectives against Pakistan. Fake Hindu saint Aseemanand undergoing the trial of Samjhota Express train blast in 2007 confessed that all the terror attacks in India were the handiwork of Indian terrorist group Abhinav led by Lt Col Purohit of which he was one of the members. Murdered Inspector Hemant Karkare had rounded up the gang and the case was under trial. He was murdered by unknown assassins on the night of 26 November 2008 in Mumbai and thereafter the case was closed and all the accused were set free. As if these revelations were not enough to expose India’s lies and its penchant for false flag operations, two books authored by Indian writers and one by German author spilt the beans.  

With so much incriminating material available, Pakistan was in a good position to put India on the mat and expose its ugly face. Unfortunately, PPP and PML-N governments opted to retain Pakistan’s traditional policy of appeasement. Instead of rebuking Indian bogus version, Indian narrative was agreed to. Several LeT leaders including Hafiz Saeed were arrested and put on trial. Apologetic and defensive stance emboldened India to continue whipping Pakistan under the charge of terrorism.

India under fascist Narendra Modi hardened its stance and stated that till such time Pakistan didn’t control terrorism, it will not talk on Kashmir. Modi forced Nawaz Sharif at Ufa in 2015 to exclude Kashmir from the agenda of future talks and to accord priority to the issue of terrorism. Pakistan’s meekness encouraged India, Afghanistan and USA to dub Pakistan a breeding ground and an epicentre of terrorism and most dangerous country in the world. These labels were given in spite of Pakistan security forces achieving remarkable results in fighting foreign-sponsored terrorist groups in FATA, Swat and Baluchistan and suffering the most.

Failing to suppress the liberation movement in IOK, India not only kept the Line of Control in Kashmir heated up but also broke all records of state terrorism and human rights against Kashmiris in IOK. Finding that Kashmir was slipping out of its hands, RAW conducted a false flag operation in Pulwama on February 14, 2019, which had three-fold objectives. To distract the attention of the world from its human rights abuses against Kashmiris and discredit freedom movement; secondly, to create the justification for a surgical strike inside Pakistan, and thirdly, to whip up anti-Pakistan emotions in India and enlarge the vote bank of BJP for elections in June.

Indian Mirage 2000s intruded in Balakot on February 24 last year under the pretext of taking revenge for Pulwama terror attack. The jets hurriedly released their bombs in a deserted place causing no damage or human casualty due to timely intervention of PAF jets. However, India claimed that it had destroyed a JeM camp. In reaction, PAF made a counter move on the night of 26 February by dropping missiles next to three sensitive targets inside IOK. Indian army chief Gen Bipin survived by the skin of his teeth. In the air duel, PAF pilots shot down one Su-30 and one MiG-21 and captured one pilot. India also lost one helicopter along with the crew due to its own firing. When India tried to strike 8 targets with Brahmo missiles on the night of 27th, Pakistan announced that it had marked 16 targets which took the air out of Modi’s jingoism. Smarting under series of humiliations, Modi ventured to make disputed IOK integral part of India on August 5, 2019, and is now threatening to annex AJK.         

Anguished over their failure to cow down Pakistan or to disable its nuclear program, the three strategic partners India, USA and Israel assisted by puppet regime in Kabul got further upset over the rapid progress made by CPEC. They see it as a dangerous monster capable of overturning their global ambitions. The trio is continuing with proxy war to bleed Pakistan and scuttle CPEC through random attacks. The 5th Generation Hybrid War was launched to create political destabilization, accentuate divisions in society, turn the youth against the army and spoil Pak-China relations.

Additionally, IMF and FATF were used as tools to meltdown Pakistan’s economy and to make it a compliant state. The IMF doled out $ 6 billion loans on stringent conditions forbidding it to use even a penny of the loan money on CPEC or to repay loans of China. The FATF after putting Pakistan in the grey list issued a long list of demands saying if these are not complied with, the country will be blacklisted. The list included the arrest and conviction of JeM head Azhar Masood, and Hafiz Saeed and other LeT leaders.

While India is leaving no stone unturned to put Pakistan in a blacklist, the US is quietly pulling the strings of FATF to keep Pakistan in the grey list for some more time. Alice Wells during her recent visit to Islamabad had admitted that the US would like to keep Pakistan under pressure through FATF till such time Pakistan agree to abide by its dictates.  She declared CPEC and friendship with China harmful for Pakistan.

The International Bully

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new economic and financial managers appointed on the choice of IMF carried out the heavy devaluation of the currency under the hope of boosting exports. They imposed heavy taxes, raised the prices of fuel, gas, and of daily commodities in order to generate revenues. These measures didn’t improve the health of the economy and made the lives of the people difficult. Desperate to uplift the sinking economy and to fulfil the promises made to the people, and to save from getting blacklisted, the cornered government hastened to arrest Hafiz Saeed.

After keeping him under detention for about six months, he was put on trial. The decision of the court was hailed by Alice Wells as well as Trump. India is also happy and sees it a triumph of its consistent efforts. India will now push for his trial on charges of attacks in Mumbai with a view to net ISI and Pakistan in the trap of terrorism.   

Making Hafiz Saeed a sacrificial goat just before the crucial meeting of FATF at Paris from 12-21 February in which Pakistan is hoping to get out of the grey list and become white go against principles and ethics.

For India, Hafiz Saeed has been a pain in the neck since he always raised his voice against Indian barbarities. As head of Difah Pakistan Council, he has been organizing big public meetings and rallies and has been a moving force behind the Kashmiri freedom struggle. His charity outfit Khidmat-e-Khalq provided immense assistance to the victims of natural calamities and was among the first to reach the stranded people caught in the devastating earthquake in AJK in 2005.  JuD has also been imparting free education to the poor and funds to the needy. He is held in high esteem among the Kashmiris living both sides of the divide and has a huge following in Pakistan.

His conviction has not been well received in J&K and by the majority of people in Pakistan particularly the Far Right. They view him as a philanthropist serving humanity, highly patriotic Pakistani and not a terrorist. They feel he has been jailed to please the USA and to mollify India. Already an impression is gaining currency that the government has betrayed the Kashmiris and that neither it is taking any action to provide relief to the marooned 8 million Kashmiris locked up in biggest open prison since August 5, nor it is allowing others to start a Jihad. Since Hafiz Saeed has never been convicted by courts on account of terrorism or funding terrorists, in all likelihood the decision of ATC if challenged might be overturned by Lahore High Court.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence and security analyst, columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Center, Member CWC and The Think Tank PESS. asifharoonraja@gmail.com            

       

, ,

No Comments